CofC Logo

Art History

Meet Ashlan Bishop – an art history major bound for medical school. Most people would be surprised at her game plan, but Ashlan has found that her professors are wholly supportive. “They want to instill a lifelong interest in art history,” she says, “but they also know that this major can be good preparation for a lot of professions.”

Ashlan came to the College with an interest in historic preservation and art history. As it often happens, her interests evolved as she took more courses. “Leaning toward medical school has been something of a 180-degree shift for me, but I’ve found that you can do that with this major.”

Initially, she wanted to focus on contemporary art history. “Then,” she says, “I took a course in Japanese art. That was the first non-Western art that I’d been exposed to, and I loved it. I didn’t know anything about Japanese culture, but I realized that I loved learning about different cultures. Through art, you can learn so much about a culture. After that, I took Indian Art and loved that too.”

In that course, Ashlan wrote a research paper comparing the artwork of India’s Rajput Courts and its Mughal Courts. “It was interesting to me because many of the Rajput courts were Hindu and the Mughal courts were Moslem, so I could compare those religions through the artwork.

What is most impressive, she says, about studying art history is its broad applicability. “This discipline teaches you how to analyze what you’re seeing. What you study isn’t just a two-dimensional piece with a story behind it. There’s much more. And I think that’s the direction that medicine is moving these days. Doctors and medical practitioners are beginning to look at the patient as a whole person, not just as someone with symptoms. The analytical skills that I’m developing in art history will cross over. In medicine, it means understanding the contextual factors. And the freedom I’ve had to take this approach is huge. I don’t think I would have had that at another college.”

Ours is one of the largest, independent art history programs in the Southeast. The department offers a thorough, diverse and exciting education in this field based on a varied curriculum administered by highly trained faculty. Students in this major are prepared for multiple careers ranging from graduate study, to gallery and museum roles, to arts administration, teaching and more.

❱❱ Our faculty’s expertise ranges broadly, including specialists in ancient art, asian art and modern art.

❱❱ Recent graduates have gone on to graduate school in art history, film studies, law and medicine, as well as careers in museums and galleries. and several graduates have gone into the art business programs with Sotheby’s and Christie’s.